Q&A: Alternate Star Wars Pitches, More Clone Wars, and Solo

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 2, 2018

1. Do you think that Hasbro will make [any new releases of] figures for the Clone Wars in 3.75 inch as cartoons or realistic or both?

I would bank on Hasbro being in a short development schedule. With only 12 new episodes of the show being made/finished, to stream on the hypothetical Disney streaming service in late 2019, Hasbro doesn't have a heck of a lot of time to do new stuff. I would bet on Hasbro using their own unfinished animated figure designs, or reissuing things that were already produced. It would not surprise me to see animated-style reissues in The Vintage Collection, or if Hasbro remembers that there are a number of animated figures that were sold in Europe but not in the USA, maybe we would get those.

The lifespan of the show is probably going to be short, at least at first. Disney will probably either drop them weekly, or all at once, meaning you've got about 2 months of buzz and marketing. If that. After that I assume The Clone Wars will disappear until Disney takes a break from Star Wars and Hasbro decides they can go back in the past to delve into popular, unmade concepts for characters.

It's hard to remember, but this show is likely to launch in 2019 - which may be the most crowded marketplace for Star Wars ever. If all goes according to plan, we could be looking at Resistance, the as-of-yet unveiled 2019 brand line look, and come the Fall, Episode IX. I don't assume we'll see 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace stuff, but we're at a point where Star Wars is competing with Star Wars for toy resources. You've got cartoon fans, game fans, novel fans, original trilogy fans, prequel fans, new movie fans, and more all demanding one or more figures from their favorite things. In the 1990s, it was pretty much a chorus of OT fans and Expanded Universe boosters back from before the term "Expanded Universe" was first dropped on us by Kenner in 1998.

If I were you, I would not get your hopes up for anything new and exciting from The Clone Wars. One or two token new figures would seem likely, but I would wager heavily that anything you get was in development 5-10 years ago in whatever style that was being done at the time. (And yes there are things you haven't seen or heard about yet.)



Ad: Star Wars at Entertainment Earth!
Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Predaking Star Wars The Vintage Collection Rogue One Imperial Combat Assault Hovertank Vehicle Star Wars The Black Series Force FX Z6 Riot Control Baton Transformers Masterpiece Edition MP-17+ Prowl Star Wars The Black Series Porg Action Figure Set


2. Star Wars- Solo....do you think there will be a transition line between Solo & Episode IX? We know of 1 more wave of Solo figures (3 3/4") and we have 15 months till Episode IX? Will the Vintage fill the space, along with 6" or would it be something new not presented yet? I.E. Clone Wars, Rebels?

Bet on it. But don't bet on it being a ton of The Clone Wars and I wouldn't bet on new Rebels either. You would probably be happy if you more or less get behind the idea that Rebels in 3 3/4-inch is probably going to be dormant for a while, save for a token figure or two if you're very lucky. Vintage is, for the foreseeable future, ongoing. I can only hope that some of the stuff we were never shown for The Clone Wars makes it out now that there's an outlet for such things.




3. Okay, did I imagine this or was this for real: Years and years ago, before Kenner started the POFT2 line, other toy companies were making prototypes of Star Wars figures in case Lucasfilm wanted to take the license elsewhere. Specifically, I seem to recall seeing pictures of Playmates' versions of Luke and Vader in a ToyFare. But I can't find any info about them anywhere. Do you know anything about this, and also if there are any pictures of these prototypes out there?

This is semi-accurate - but I never remember seeing them published outside of a Bespin Luke statue in one of my online publications in the 1990s that was said to have been from Playmates. I recently saw a sculpt for a Playmates C-3PO 4 1/2-inch prototype, and it was really nice! (I have pictures I need to dig out.) I have been told stories of a lot of these, some of which I've alluded to here, but due to confidentiality I haven't seen pictures of many of them as of yet.

Most of these pitches were around 1995-1999, I believe Playmates' were around the time of Kenner's new line. Nearly every other toy company had concepts for prequel toys when the license was up for renewal, mostly because Kenner's license was set to potentially sunset and you would have to have been foolish to not pursue the hottest figure license with a built-in audience back when action figure collecting was so much more accessible. (Today I would say figure collecting is nearly impossible to break in to unless it's your job and you're rich, or you're very choosy.)

You may have seen customs in a magazine speculating on the future, but I do not believe any of these pitches were shown in print in a big way. Most of the stories I heard were around Playmates' line, which I think is the one I would have loved to have seen the most given what they did well in Star Trek.

Speaking of POTF2 - the 1995-2000 Kenner (and later Hasbro) line - I've been finally setting up a display cabinet with the figures in it. It's slow going due to poor organization, trying to find all of 1995 before doing 1996, 1997, 1998, and so on takes some time. It's a mixed bag - some aged very well and others just make me mad. I like Buff Luke because he can hold his gear and sit in vehicles. Han Solo needs assistance and can barely fit in the Falcon - it certainly does leave one wondering what it might have been like if Kenner let the license lapse after 1998. It's fascinating to see which figures haven't been updated in over 20 years too - Lak Sivrak being exiled makes sense. But we haven't seen the other Ishi Tib yet, EV-9D9 hasn't been touched since 1997, Piett last graced 3 3/4-inch figures in 1998 as well. I assume a non-prequel Mon Mothma will probably never get an update, and I can't imagine any of the Special Edition or Expanded Universe guys will ever get another shot at life.

...but hey, new Yak Face in 2019. That's pretty exciting. Almost everybody else from the final days of the Saga-as-a-Trilogy have been updated more than once, but the bizarre charm of rocket-firing R5-D4 and the surprisingly wonderful 2-1B and Pote Snitkin still stand out as winners. The sculpting on Pote is good by today's standards - maybe the design could use some work, what with the plastic robes, but the figure itself is really a keeper. Weirdly I'm far more excited by the 1990s figures than the 2000s stuff - they're fine and all, but those mid-era updates are kind of a bore since Hasbro keeps giving us newer and largely better takes on the main characters. The swollen stylization of 1995 packs a punch that won't soon be bested, particularly since we seem to be on a slow-drip quota of classic trilogy figures in the range of slim to none.



Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: JT, Sean, David, Timothy, Christopher, Robert, Bobb, Jayson, Marco, Shawn, Stephen, Matthew, Jonathan, Joel, Todd, Jeremy, Fox, and Mario. Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



So I've been doing some Hot Wheels starships work, research, and collecting. So far I've found existing online resources wanting as there's no easy way to figure out just exactly how many of the buggers are, thanks to pack-in playsets people ignore and deco variations galore. I've been plodding around the local closeout stores and making notes in a big spreadsheet, so that might get shared if I declare it complete before giving up. I want that Yoda Starfighter. I don't think I would pay for the Kylo Ren TIE Silencer from SDCC with the fancy paint, though.

Vehicles are a part of Star Wars that were historically quite popular, thanks in part to the relative lack of them in the vintage days of old. You had basic figure ships, the MicroCollection, and some die-cast metal vehicles - and for the better part of 15 years, that was close to it. Galoob brought some wonderful ships to life in the early and mid 1990s, and of course Kenner reran, remade, and revised numerous ships with a few new ones here and there as the line went on. It seems that the current range of smaller ships tend to be pretty popular, with Solo-specific ships as well as Original Trilogy ships flying off the shelves. I think this is in part to the stronger, more recognizable designs rather than the love of the movies themselves. (Three people saw Solo.) It's pretty easy to get excited about the Rebels and the Empire. Some of the stronger The Last Jedi ships sold through completely, but the bombers are sort of like the Rebel Transport of old - sure fans want it, but it's nobody's first choice.

Being a crank, I'd say you could extrapolate that to the entire toy franchise - people do want this stuff and are happy to buy it when it's something they recognize from a fond memory. People are buying Jango and Maul ships too. This will never happen, but if I were Hasbro (and Lucasfilm, and Mattel) I'd probably release one wave and one wave only of "new movie" stuff before and for the movie - and save the rest until people saw it. I don't think we have fans who are turned on to midnight madness as much anymore, and as a fan who has survived 6 out of 7 midnight launches (Solo lacked one, Clone Wars barely had one) I don't get the feeling that you're going to cash in unless you offer something exciting, demanded, and beloved. You can cheat too - throw out a Spirt Yoda, Lando's other outfit from Solo, and new versions with great sculpts of the classic characters you know will sell. Give us that nifty new The Force Awakens Leia! If you have a twist on Rey, do it - but for crying out loud, don't give us the same ol' Poe again. I don't care if it has wrists and a sound chip - and neither does anyone else. Cheat - trade on nostalgia. There was no reason to keep Han Solo for January when people would have lined up around the block to buy a new Han from the first live-action Star Wars movie in 10 years and the first appearance of Harrison Ford in 23 years. He was no secret. There was no surprise. Take advantage of that low-hanging fruit.

The launch for The Force Awakens probably could've benefited from more classic faces at first, but I'll contradict myself for saying something you will hate. I'm happy they gave us Nien Nunb as that retro appeal - but I'm also happy they gave us Zuvio. I wish they gave us less of him, but as a fan I can say I'm happy to have that weird, hatted alien. In hindsight. At the time I was cranky we had no Luke, Leia, or Han and I can't imagine why you as a licensor would make a line branded Star Wars - not a big The Force Awakens logo, but Star Wars - and not stack the deck with familiar faces. I would have loved to see branding specific to the new movie, though, like we saw with the original sequel lines. It's fresh and hip! I would've loved to see Solo: A Star Wars Story logos on my packaging. Or The Last Jedi. I assume lead times were the issue for Solo but The Last Jedi seemingly had about 8 months prior to launch. And of course Phantom Menace had 8 months, but toys were in-hand and manufactured at roughly the same time due to what can best be called the best coordinated advance campaign against your wallet in the history of science fiction.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.